News / 5 April 2013

How to keep the world turning: advice to Ban Ki-moon

A lot of talking is going on about what should be done after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals will come to an end and new agreements must be made to stimulate global sustainable development. But that’s easier said than done. Nathalie van Haren from Both ENDS attended a so-called 'post-2015 conference’ in Bonn, Germany. Why was it held and what did Nathalie do there?

Advice to Ban Ki-moon
During the 2012 Rio +20 conference it was agreed that an agenda for sustainable development beyond 2015 should be made. To set this agenda, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon brought together a so-called 'UN High Level Panel (HLP) that consists of 27 members from all over the world. Members include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, David Cameroon, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Paul Polman, Unilever CEO. This High Level Panel will draw up a joint vision on sustainable development after the Millennium Development Goals and will present it to Ban Ki-moon in May this year.


Join the conversation
Unlike during the preparation of the Millennium Development Goals, this time fortunately a consultation process was started. This means that civil society organizations can join the conversation and give their vision on sustainable development. Many organizations are however not convinced of the progress that has been made so far. They are worried about the direction the ‘HLP post 2015 agenda’ will take: especially about the role that governments, corporations, and multilateral institutions such as the World Bank will play in it.


Red flag
To give a clear signal to the HLP, civil society organizations raised a 'red flag' in Bonn. The organisations also wrote several statements in which they give suggestions for sustainable development worldwide.


"Both ENDS has emphasised the following points”, says Nathalie van Haren. “Respect for and protection of human rights and ecosystems, the participation of local communities in the management of natural resources and the free and easy access to information. We also find it very important is that policies are made in collaboration with local people and based on their daily practice. Planning and policies should not be designed by government officials sitting behind their desk in remote offices. "


(In) equality
"In Bonn we mainly discussed the contents of the Post 2015 Agenda. A ‘buzz word’ which returns again and again is (in) equality: unequal access to natural resources, gender inequality, human rights. Many organisations find this the most important item on the agenda after 2015. "


Women farmers in Kenya

"Our statements serve as input for the HLP, but it is still questionable whether the people who really suffer the consequences of unsustainable development, will be heard in this process. For example, how can women farmers in Kenya who have no computer or access to internet make their voices heard? IBON International, with whom we worked together in the Rio +20 process has created a toolkit for grassroots organisations. The toolkit helps to involve local people like these Kenyan women farmers in the global conversation about a sustainable future."



* A video was made at the conference in Bonn

* Toolkit of IBON International 



Photo: treesftf on Flickr


Read more about this subject